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Robert Trigaux

Once financial bane to MarineMax, Florida economy now fuels boat retailer recovery




It's been nearly two years since MarineMax shares have topped $11. Is this brief euphoria from the company's earnings this week or a sign that the casual boating industry in Florida is finally showing signs of life?

mikemclambcfomarinemax.jpgWake up and good morning. Here's a comment from the chief financial officer of Clearwater-based MarineMax, the recreational boat retailing giant, that should warm your heart. CFO Mike McLamb (left) remarked to analysts Thursday about the economic state of Florida, which has been a long, long drag on MarineMax's recovery:

"Florida has been becoming an assets for us again for the last several quarters. And I would say that we had stronger growth out of Florida incrementally than we did out of the rest of the country."

williammcgillceomarinemax.jpgWith comments like that and MarineMax's improved quarterly earnings report Thursday -- where same-store sales rose 26 percent -- no wonder MarineMax's shares (ticker HZO) jumped nearly 25 percent yesterday. Will it last? "This year," admits company CEO Bill McGill (right), "has been more fun than what has been in previous years."

After the stress of recent years, this is no Pollyanna company. The company's basically been operating at breakeven for the past 18 months. Last year MarineMax looked to be well on  its way to a recovery until June when, as McLamb states, the "national debt debate and European financial crisis dragged down consumer confidence" and blew MarineMax out of the water, so to speak. So both McGill and McLamb are hardly ready to announce "mission accomplished."

In fact, the executives more willing to talk in bigger picture terms. Says McGill: "We're worried about the macro environment from the standpoint that it's an election year and the world issues out there." Read MarineMax's discussion with analysts here.

-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times



[Last modified: Friday, April 27, 2012 7:15am]


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